Renee Ellmers

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Renee Ellmers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by Bob Etheridge
Personal details
Born Renee Jacisin
(1964-02-09) February 9, 1964 (age 51)
Ironwood, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Brent Ellmers
Children Ben
Residence Dunn, North Carolina
Alma mater Oakland University
Occupation Nurse
Website House website

Renee Jacisin Ellmers (born February 9, 1964)[1] is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district since 2011. She is a member of the Republican Party. Ellmers defeated seven-term Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge in 2010 by 1,489 votes, confirmed after a recount.

Early life, education, and nursing career[edit]

Ellmers was born Renee Jacisin in Ironwood, Michigan, the daughter of Caroline Pauline (née Marshalek) and LeRoy Francis Jacisin. Her father was of Czech and French-Canadian descent and her mother was of Croatian and Polish ancestry.[2] She moved to Madison Heights as a child, when her father got a job in the automobile industry. She graduated from Madison High School.[3] Ellmers paid her way through Oakland University by working various jobs, training as a medical assistant.[4] In 1990, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.[5][6] Ellmers worked as a nurse in Beaumont Hospital's surgical intensive care unit. In North Carolina, she was clinical director of the Trinity Wound Care Center in Dunn.[3]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Ellmers became involved in politics after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which she opposed. She became involved in local Republican politics and joined Americans for Prosperity, a free-market political advocacy group.[5] She sought the Republican Party nomination for Congress in North Carolina's 2nd congressional district, which was then held by seven-term incumbent Bob Etheridge. She faced car dealer Todd Gailas and retired businessman Frank Deatrich in the May 4, 2010 Republican primary. She raised and spent more money than her opponents. She won the Republican primary with 55% of the vote, winning every county in the district except Franklin.[5][7][8]

In June, a physical altercation between U.S. Congressman Bob Etheridge and two young men claiming to be students working on a project [9] was posted to the internet.[10] The previously obscure Ellmers was highlighted by conservative blogs such as RedState and the National Review's The Corner.[11] Donations increased markedly,[12] and a SurveyUSA poll showed Ellmers ahead by one percent[13] [5] Ellmers received an endorsement from former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin on August 18 through Facebook, citing Ellmers' experience in the health care industry.[14] Palin endorsed Ellmers along with three other women, on the 90th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United States.[15]

On election day, November 2, 2010, Ellmers was declared the winner by the media and a recount conducted on November 17 and 18 confirmed that she defeated Bob Etheridge during the general election by a margin of 0.8% or 1,483 votes.[16][17]


The Republicans won control of the General Assembly in the 2010 election as well, and used the redistricting process to shore up the 2nd for Ellmers. They pushed the district well to the west to take in some heavily Republican territory between Raleigh and Greensboro. The two sections were connected by a narrow tendril through Fayetteville. While Barack Obama won the old 2nd with 52 percent of the vote--one of the few majority-white districts in the South that went for Obama--John McCain would have carried the new 2nd with 57 percent of the vote.

Three Republicans decided to challenge her in the primary, but all of them were first-time candidates. She won the May 8 primary with 56% of the vote.[18] In the November general election, Ellmers defeated Democratic nominee Steve Wilkins, a retired US Army officer and Moore County businessman, 56%-41%.[19]


Ellmers considered running for the U.S. Senate in 2014,[20] but instead ran for re-election. In May 2014 primary she faced conservative Internet talk show host Frank Roche, who campaigned mainly against her support of immigration reform.[21] Ellmers easily won the nomination, capturing 58% of the vote to Roche's 41%.[22]American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken won the Democratic nomination after a close primary.[23]


In September 2011, Ellmers told students at Campbell University that she opposed a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions because it was too broad. A spokesman said "Congresswoman Ellmers has always believed that marriage is a sacred institution and is defined as the union between one man and one woman...As a voter, she would vote against a piece of legislation that would add a ban on civil unions to the protection of marriage since they are two different issues and should be dealt with separately."[24] It was reported in July 2014 that she told a meeting of Republican women, "“Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level,” Ellmers said. “Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that.... “We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life – that’s the way to go,” Ellmers concluded.[25]

She supported the Budget Control Act of 2011 saying "It's not 100 percent of what many of our very conservative colleagues want, but it is about 70-75 percent. This is not about who's the most conservative. This is about common sense."[26]

Ellmer serves as the current chairwoman of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee.[27] In 2015, she led five other Republican women in opposing a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks.[citation needed]

Committee assignments[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Ellmers met her husband Brent Ellmers, a surgeon, while working at Beaumont Hospital. After the birth of their son Ben, the family moved to Dunn, North Carolina, where Ellmers and her husband ran a practice.[5]

Renee Ellmers claims to be a "family values" Republican with Christian values. She says on her website, "As a mom, Christian and nurse, my beliefs have deepened through experience... I am pro-family." [28]


  1. ^ Jennifer Scholtes (November 3, 2010). "112th Congress: Renee Ellmers, R-N.C. (2nd District)". Congressional Quarterly. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Renee Ellmers ancestry". Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  3. ^ a b "Meet Renee". Renee Ellmers for Congress. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Guide to the New Congress". CQ Roll Call. 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Renee Ellmers (R)". National Journal. November 2, 2010. 
  6. ^ Renee Ellmers at Project Vote Smart
  7. ^ "NC District 2 - R Primary Race - May 04, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  8. ^ Phillips, Gregory (April 21, 2010). "GOP 2nd Congressional District candidates cite unique perspectives". The Fayetteville Observer. 
  9. ^ "They also tried to push Democrats into retirement, using what was described in the presentation as “guerrilla tactics” like chasing Democratic members down with video cameras and pressing them to explain votes or positions. (One target, Representative Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, had to apologize for manhandling one of his inquisitors in a clip memorialized on YouTube. Only this week did Republican strategists acknowledge they were behind the episode.)" From Democrats Outrun by a 2-Year G.O.P. Comeback Plan, New York Times November 3, 2010
  10. ^ Grier, Peter (June 14, 2010). "Bob Etheridge incident: What does he have to apologize for?". The Christian Science Monitor. 
  11. ^ Cillizza, Chris (June 15, 2010). "Bob Etheridge and the political power (or lack thereof) of a gaffe". The Washington Post. 
  12. ^ Christensen, Rob. "Etheridge slip puts foe on map". The News & Observer. 
  13. ^ Geraghty, Jim (June 18, 2010). "National Review: 'Just Who Is Bob Etheridge?'". National Public Radio. 
  14. ^ "Palin endorses Ellmers". The News & Observer. August 18, 2010. 
  15. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (August 18, 2010). "Palin adds to 'mama grizzly' pack". Politico. 
  16. ^ Barrett, Barbara (November 20, 2010). "Ellmers wins, recount shows". The Charlotte Observer. 
  17. ^ "NC - District 02 Race - Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  18. ^ "NC District 02- R Primary Race - May 08, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  19. ^ "NC District 02 Race - Nov 06, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Ellmers draws primary challenger" Laura Leslie. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
  22. ^ NC State Board of Elections website
  23. ^ Jarvis, Craig (13 May 2014). "Aiken maintains lead; is official Democratic nominee for Congress". Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  24. ^ Christensen, Rob. "Dome: Amendment is too broad to get Ellmers' vote | Under the Dome". Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  25. ^ Benen, Steve (2014-07-16). "Ellmers urges men to bring policy 'down to a woman's level'". NBC Universal. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  26. ^ Tate, Curtis (2011-07-28). "Debt limit fight brings N.C.'s Ellmers close to GOP leadership | Top Stories | Modesto Bee". Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  27. ^ Dumain, Emma (June 21, 2013). "GOP Women Seek Broader Influence With Policy Committee". Roll Call. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  28. ^

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bob Etheridge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jeff Duncan
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Blake Farenthold